Disciplinary decision expected for ship pilot in Bay Bridge collision 

click to enlarge Bar pilot Guy Kleess might face disciplinary action after striking the Bay Bridge with the 752-foot Overseas Reymar on Jan. 7. - NOAH BERGER/REUTERS FILE PHOTOS
  • Noah Berger/REUTERS file photos
  • Bar pilot Guy Kleess might face disciplinary action after striking the Bay Bridge with the 752-foot Overseas Reymar on Jan. 7.

The agency that oversees bar pilots — who are specially trained to guide large ships through local bays — is expected to announce its decision today about any possible disciplinary action related to the incident in which an empty tanker struck the Bay Bridge in January.

Guy Kleess, who became a bar pilot in 2005, was at the helm of the 752-foot Overseas Reymar as it was leaving port Jan. 7. As the ship approached the bridge, it changed course and then sideswiped a bumper on the easternmost tower of the western span.

On Thursday, the California Board of Pilot Commissioners — a state agency that licenses and regulates the pilots on San Francisco, San Pablo and Suisun bays — is slated to receive the investigative report into the incident, according to the agency. After it’s presented, the seven-member board is expected to go into a closed session to discuss possible disciplinary actions.

The board can rule that there was pilot error or misconduct during an incident, or that the pilot is not at fault. Disciplinary actions can range from additional pilot training to the revocation of the pilot’s license, which takes an additional administrative process, according to committee documents.

A spokeswoman for the board would not comment about what actions might be taken.

This isn’t the first time that Kleess has been before the board. It found that there was pilot error in three incidents in which he was in charge. In a span of two days in October 2009, Kleess was involved in a temporary grounding of a ship on the Sacramento River and striking part of a dock in Stockton. Then in May 2010, a tug attached to a ship Kleess was piloting struck the bottom of San Francisco Bay.

While the third incident was deemed pilot error, no action was taken against Kleess because he was supervising a trainee at the time.

Kleess has not been given any piloting assignments since the Bay Bridge incident.

mbillings@sfexaminer.com

About The Author

Mike Billings

Mike Billings

Bio:
Mike Billings is the editor in chief of The S.F. Examiner.
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